In fact, according to the most recent examination of cancer statistics in the United States, half of all deaths related to the disease are caused by smoking, bad diets, and additional unhealthy behavior.
The major changes over the past 35 years have been our behavior as a society, though none of it good: While fewer Americans smoke, there has been an epidemic rise in obesity due to poor diets and toxic food, leading to higher rates of cancer.
A recent study, according to The Associated Press, found that some 45 percent of cancer deaths and 42 percent of all diagnosed cases of cancer are linked to what the researchers say is “modifiable” behavior.
In other words, these are risks that are not inherited via bloodlines; these rates are due to behaviors we choose to freely engage in, but which can nevertheless be altered in ways that would dramatically decrease our risk of becoming just another cancer statistic.
Modifiable behavior includes quitting smoking, decreasing or cutting out the use of alcohol, eating fresher, less toxic foods, cutting excessive exposure to sun, and — did I mention quitting smoking?
In 1981 a British study found that more than two-thirds of cancer deaths were attributable to those causes. The most recent study with the updated findings, which used 2014 data and conducted by the American Cancer Society, was published last week in the publication CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
“We thought it was time to redo those estimates,” Dr. Otis Brawley, the organization’s chief medical officer and one of the study’s authors, said.
As in earlier years, smoking was still the leading cause of cancer, with 29 percent of deaths. But obesity/excessive body weight was next with 6.5 percent of deaths, while drinking alcohol was responsible for 4 percent, coming in third.
And while most people are aware that smoking is a huge risk factor for cancer, far fewer Americans seem to be aware that obesity can cause cancer rates to soar. (Related: Women who carry excess abdominal fat have a 50% chance of developing lung and bowel cancer.)
That said, Natural News founder and editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, was aware of this fact more than a decade ago. Way back in 2004 he cited American Cancer Society research to report the ongoing trend of fewer smoking deaths and rising cancer deaths thanks to obesity:
This is a link that has been frequently overlooked by almost everyone, but is now coming out as a strong link and one that deserves attention. What it means is that dietary factors that contribute to obesity also indirectly contribute to cancer.
So, he noted, “that sugarcoated donut you had in the morning doesn’t just make you fat, it may also eventually move you toward serious disease like diabetes and cancer.”
As for the latest research — which again is showing the same trend Adams was seeing 13 years ago — the study authors did separate calculations for various types of cancer by age group and gender, in order to measure how risk factors might affect various demographics, then combined them in order to form a national picture.
Among their findings:
— Smoking was responsible for the vast majority of deaths due to lung cancer at 82 percent;
— People who had excessive body weight developed 60 percent of all uterine cancers and about 33 percent of liver cancers;
— Drinking alcohol was linked to a quarter of liver cancers in men and 12 percent in women, along with 17 percent of colorectal cancers in men and 8 percent in women, as well as 16 percent of female breast cancers.
— Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or excessive tanning bed use was linked to 96 percent of skin cancers in men and 94 percent in women — though, we must remember, that sunlight exposure is also a great source of vitamin D and has other health benefits.
J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and News Target.